SC notice to Centre, states on online RTI portal plea

SC notice to Centre, states on online RTI portal plea

(DH File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Aug.26 sought a response from the Centre and state governments on a plea for establishing an online portal to ensure immediate filing of the RTI applications by the citizens.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Ajay Rastogi issued a notice to both the Union and state governments on a PIL filed by the NGO 'Pravasi Legal Cell'.

The court admitted for consideration the petition argued by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde. Except the Centre and Maharashtra government, no other states entertained the RTI applications online, the petitioner contended.

The petitioner pointed out that the present system of submitting RTI applications and the corresponding reply from the concerned information officer in physical form took more time which in turn reduced the efficiency of the entire RTI mechanism thus defeating the very purpose of the 2005 legislation.

"It becomes next to impossible for a Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to obtain information under the conventional method of snail mail services which is otherwise a costly affair," their petition stated.

The Right to Information Act provided a legal mechanism to enforce and implement the citizen’s right to information guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Union as well as state governments are statutorily bound to make the information easily available for the citizens "in all convenient means possible". On the contrary, the present system violated the fundamental right to information. 

"The e-governance has been proven to be the most convenient, efficient and transparent way of governance throughout the world and a country like India with vast population is not an exemption," it said.

"Both the State and Central Governments have started implementing e-governance for delivering government services. However, RTI remains an exception which requires interference from this court," the petitioner added.

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